MEMBERS of the Unite union gathered in Bradford’s Centenary Square yesterday to highlight the impact of proposed cuts to the district’s museums and libraries.

The department’s budget will be reduced by 65 per cent over two years. Details of what the cuts will look like will not be revealed until September, but the Council has announced that it will be cutting its museums and galleries budget, currently, £1.8 million, by £500,000 in 2020/21.

The libraries budget, which is currently £2,824,000, will be cut by £1.5 million.

The Council says the cuts are needed due to its funding from central government being slashed through austerity.

Unite has raised a number of concerns over the cuts.

Mark Martin, Unite Regional Officer, said the quality of service would suffer as a result.

“We are more than prepared to sit down with local authority, discuss with them how these cuts will be implemented and how they can be mitigated, but they are not prepared to do that," he said.

“Bradford just cannot compete and be a City of Culture without its library and museums service.”

A spokesperson for Bradford Council said: “We published a budget last year as we do every year and consulted on it in the proper way.

"Every department across the Council has had to face reductions in funding as a result of national government austerity. Any future budget will of course be fully consulted upon with staff and residents.”

“We have invested hugely in the cultural infrastructure of Bradford in recent years, including the major refurbishment of St George’s Hall for the first time in its history. We’ve also supported Bradford Live to help bring the NEC to the former Bradford Odeon. Across the district, we have witnessed a surge in visitors to Cliffe Castle since its refurbishment was completed.

“Bradford Council is fully behind the Cultural Partnerships’ bid for City of Culture and we are confident that we can more than compete with the other bidding cities with regards our cultural offer.

“We refute the claims that we will not meet with Unite. Unite have been invited to take part in discussions at every stage of the staff consultation and we have responded in full to their concerns. However, in the latter stages, Unite have chosen not to attend meetings or engage in an open dialogue with Council management.

“We hope that Unite will accept an invitation to sit down with us and enter into a dialogue. The offer to do so remains open to them, as it has been during this whole process.”